'American Idol' Alum Danny Gokey Signs Country Record Deal

Gokey, who signed with RCA Nasville, was the last of this year's top four to land a deal.

Danny Gokey went from being the early favorite to third-place finisher on this year's "American Idol." And, as recent history has taught us (ahem, Syesha Mercado, Melinda Doolittle), finishing third and waiting awhile for your label deal isn't always a sure bet. But for spectacle-loving Wisconsin native Gokey, the last of this year's top four to cut a major-label contract, the wait was worth it.

According to USA Today, Gokey made a bit of history in the process, as his signing marked the first time in the show's history that the final four have all scored contracts with the show's recording entity, 19 Recordings.

Gokey, 29, followed in the footsteps of winner Kris Allen, runner-up Adam Lambert and fourth-place finisher Allison Iraheta, who all announced their 19 deals back in June. Unlike the others, though, Gokey will be housed at the RCA Nashville label, where his soulful crooning will likely get a pedal-steel polish. Representatives for 19 did not return requests for comment.

"We absolutely love Danny," said Sony Music Nashville chairman Joe Galante, who praised the gravelly, "soulful edge" of Gokey's vocals. No producer is attached to the album yet, but Gokey is expected to enter a Nashville studio right after the current American Idols Live! tour ends September 15. That timetable means he won't likely join the parade of former "Idol" contestants slated to release albums later this year, including Carrie Underwood, Allen, Jason Castro, Lambert and Iraheta. Gokey's first single could drop in the fall, and an album will likely follow in March or early spring.

Though Gokey made a name for himself on "Idol" with his gospel-y blue-eyed soul, he also sang three country songs during his run — by Lee Ann Womack, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts — and he's currently singing two Flatts songs, "What Hurts the Most" and "My Wish," on the "Idol" tour.

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